Fleet managers use a fleet fuel card program to make it simple for drivers to fuel up, collect and mine key expense data, and provide expense data to management. However, not all fuel card programs are the same, and not all fleets are the same. Review your fleet’s mission, geography, composition, and administration and management needs before selecting a fuel program. There are three primary types of fuel programs:
Branded: All major oil companies offer fleet fuel cards for use at their own fuel locations.
Universal: This fuel program is offered by an independent company or a fleet service provider.
Cardkey Programs: Cardkey providers operate their own gated fuel sites and purchase and sell their own fuel. Sometimes it’s the basics that fall through the cracks when writing a request for proposal (RFP). Vendors aren’t mind readers, so treat your RFP as an introduction to your fleet. Be sure to check off this list of must-haves to avoid problems during the RFP process.
1. Contact information. Don’t assume that vendors know where to send their responses. Be clear who the point person is for vendors to contact with questions and/or responses. Include the person’s phone number, address, and e-mail address when possible. Consider including a back-up contact in the event that the primary person is unavailable.
2. Billing: Make certain that the vendor provides a billing system suited to your company. Most companies require at least a centralized bill for the fleet department. Others require that an information billing is sent to field locations or division offices. Include information such as location codes, vehicle number, and driver name.
3. Security: Remember that a fuel card is a credit card. It is possible that drivers will purchase items other than fuel, or fuel for a non-fleet vehicle. A fuel card program must minimize such use to protect the fleet from unauthorized expense. This security issue can be solved by requiring a PIN number for each card or placing dollar limits on individual transactions.
4. Fleet Size: The size of your fleet can affect what kind of program or services a potential vendor will offer, so be sure to specify the number of vehicles that you operate.
5. Fleet Mix: Likewise, the types of vehicles in your fleet can factor into a vendor’s response to your RFP. A fleet that primarily operates diesel trucks will have different needs than a fleet comprised entirely of sedans.
6. Annual Fueling Volume: Giving vendors an estimate of how much fuel your fleet uses each year will help them provide their best proposal for your fleet.
7. Current Program: Let vendors know what you’re currently doing to meet your fuel needs and why you’re looking to change. This will alert vendors to specific needs or problem areas that they should address in their proposal.